Parenting can be challenging to say the least. I think it’s one of the biggest kept secrets… how hard parenting can actually be. There’s no dispute about how rewarding it is, and that’s out in the open… but as for how hard & demanding… that’s another story.
My kiddo and I, a while back, had to change the way we dealt with difficulty throughout the day. He used to say “this is the worst day” or “I’m having the worst day”. And, his attitude would perpetuate itself, drawing more of the same. So I would find us having one bad day after another. This quickly gained my attention, and I had to do something.
I realized that one bad moment should never determine the worth of the entire day. That’s insane! We’d never have a good day again if that were the case. It’d make more sense to hold on to one good moment and make that the theme of the day.
Thing is, life is a series of moments, and my kiddo does have bad moments from time to time. I was ready to go along with him and just say “this day sucks”. But that is not how I wanted to live. I decided that it was just the moment that didn’t feel good. And I told him something we use to this day. This is it….
Life is a series of moments… some good, some bad… some amazing. Our day is a series of many, many moments, so it’s impossible to have a bad day… only a few bad moments.
When he’s having a bad moment, he’s very aware of his unhappiness…. and he knows that it will pass. Kids have bad moments where something doesn’t go their way or they get hurt or their build in Minecraft gets destroyed. This is normal, and it’s an excellent opportunity for them to practice how to handle what they are feeling.
As parents, we can help them see that this is just a moment… and while it is less than desirable, they can handle it, it will pass, and everyone has bad moments from time to time.
We are their teachers. We can model with scripting out loud as we work through our bad moments. How else are they supposed to learn? Here’s an example…
Maybe a payment doesn’t go through, and you say out loud… “wow, this is a bad moment… I have lot of emotion right now… I need to get a breathe of fresh air… I know it’ll be ok… I won’t feel like this forever… this will pass… ” Then take a few breathes and say out loud…”hmm.. what can I do about this? what do I have control over? what’s my next best move here” And, you can continue with more of “I wish this didn’t happen, I’m so upset, but it’ll be ok, it always works out, I’ll figure it out” or you can skip right to solving the problem “I’m going to call them and see about making a payment in a couple of days… maybe they’ll be okay with that”. Being able to model an empowered mindset in difficult situations lifts both you and your kiddo… as you reinforce to yourself as well, that you can handle things that come your way.
My kiddo has some unique challenges, as do most kids these days. And, if I don’t teach him something directly, he might not pick it up through osmosis. All kids can benefit from modeling how to handle bad moments, and bad moments will turn into opportunities for them to master themselves and their mindset. No longer will you or your kiddos ever have a bad day. You will simply have tough moments… maybe some really, really tough moments. However, at the end of each day, you can reflect with your kiddo on all the moments and point out the ones you enjoyed the most, while expressing your pride in how they are handling tough ones better and better each time. It might be more of an expression of faith in their ability to handle the tough moments, until they grow that muscle.
They will hear your voice in their heads one day. What voice will that be? My kiddo will hear things like “I know you can handle this! You will figure this out. This will pass. You are strong. Tough moments are normal, What CAN you do about it (what do you have control over), and You’ll know what to do, You’ll see… it’ll work out, etc.” What you teach your kids is something they’ll have forever. Help them never have a bad day again. You matter more to them than you’ll ever know!
Here’s to our Insightful Kids!